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Dušan Mandić: “This is not the water polo I learned to play growing up!”

Dušan Mandić: "This is not the water polo I learned to play growing up!"

Right after yesterday’s dramatic LEN Champions League finale, in which Olympiakos bested host and front-runner Pro Recco 9:7we grabbed hold of Dušan Mandić, one of the world’s fiercest lefties, who was visibly disappointed with the evening’s conclusion.

Upon asking for his comment on the lost finale, he didn’t hesitate to let off some steam and verbalize his frustration with the current state of water polo.

Here is what Dušan Mandić (Pro Recco) had to say:

Today, we lost our heads, which mostly affected our defense. Even when we scored, we weren’t able to fend off their attack in return. They were leading the entire match. With every goal we scored, they would return the hit and keep the gap. We lacked the defense which would have been the key to gaining self-confidence and taking the lead.

We all try to avoid talking about the referees, but I can’t keep on being quiet and looking the other way when these officials act like… Let’s just say, I’ve never seen any other sport in which you ask the referee something and instantly get shut down without any explanation. That’s the first thing. As for the second thing, I ask you this — how is it possible to have an allegedly important tournament like the LEN Europa Cup where the administration sends out new referees who never lead any major games before? In addition to that, nobody thinks about the athletes and no one is interested in our opinion. No one asks about our schedules or what struggles we face during the season. We have no rest. Instead, we are imposed with senseless competitions.

But to continue about the before mentioned Europa Cup in Rijeka. They send out these impostors as referees to judge this new, supposedly “very important” event. Where are the prime referees, I wonder. Why weren’t they there?

Another thing is, I don’t understand the current refereeing — this is not the water polo I learned to play growing up. Don’t get me wrong, I am not looking for excuses with this, I know you can just step up and outplay everything, even the referees – but not every single time.

I personally don’t understand where water polo is being taken with this. Is somebody slowly trying to shut down our sport, year after year? I don’t get it…

To be clear, this has nothing to do with Olympiacos. Sincere congratulations to them. They were better and they deserved to win, but it’s not them that concerns me. This match was another heavy hit for us all, but we’ll keep fighting, working hard and we will continue to grow.

We thank Dušan for sharing his honest and outspoken views and encourage all athletes to make the player’s voice heard.

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